I look at those numbers and start to shake to be honest. I bought one lens like this the 35-70 2.8 Leica R lens for 6300.00. I sold it fairly quickly too and not because of the quality which is very nice but I was truly afraid to use it in a working environment. Now obviously you could save a few dollars like 2k from it and only get 2 lenses with a CS but still, this is what separates the rich from the working class. That is my biggest issue with the S2 it maybe worth it but the costs are just frightening for me at least.
Say you get the S2, 35, 70 & 180. You are out 19.500 US worth of lenses, and 20 K for the body = ~ 40K.
You can get a very nice Hassy or Phase kit with 3 lenses covering the same focals for about half of that or slightly more; add a Cambo, Alpa TC or Silvestri Bicam and a couple of Schneider or Rodenstock lenses for WA work with camera movements with superb IQ, and you still have some cash left in your pocket (like 10K, not peanuts )... That surely makes one think!
Thanks for the info, guys. I learn something new here every day!
In any case, I'll continue to do all I can to further Marc's upgrade and/or replacement program by buying as much of his Hasselblad V gear as I possibly can. Still working on my wife re approval for the PC-Mutar and wondering what else might be coming out of Marc's closet in the near future.
Back to the original question.....I think we've got to see the S2 in action before most folks will really know.....is it worth the high price of admission?
Well, a most interesting discussion so far.
My take is that Leica may have a tough row to hoe.
For me the comparisons to a P65+ and soon to be launched Hassey H4D/60 do not help with the credibility factor. These are very near FF 645 and 60 meg sensors ... the Phase back is in fine tune with arguably the most sophisticated RAW software on the planet. Those that actually know how to use it have the same opinion about Phocus for Hasselblad files.
Now, I do buy the notion that the S lenses could make some difference. Proof of that is clear every time someone puts a Phase One or Hassey digital back on a tech camera, and uses Rodenstock or Schneider digital APO optics.
I also buy into the idea that the S2 could defy some conventional logic ... the DMR did that, and it seems the M9 is doing something similar.
Again, replacing a MFD system isn't the positioning for the S2 I am interested in. However, that positioning as a replacement for say my Nikon D3X system may not fit everyone's working criteria. In actual shooting situations that I face, the D3X really maxes out at ISO 1,000 ... but I use ISO 400 to 800 most of the time ... but RARELY over ISO 500 for formal shots, commercial images or portraits. The M9 and fast aperture M ASPH optics are for available light work.
I do not have a focal length over 100mm in the Nikon bag. I do have a 70-200G for the Sony and have used it exactly 5 times ... only for my assistant to shoot from a church balcony. When I shot with Canon I didn't even own a Zoom for many years ... 24 to 135 primes, with the least used being the 135.
So, the thought is to make a lifetime purchase here and get out of the Nikon D4X/Canon 1DsMKIV upgrade rat race.
Which raises the specter of long term service and support. Big ? mark. Both Nikon and Canon service has been excellent when I needed it. Not so my history with Leica.
Having been shafted by Kyocera with the Contax 645, Contax N Digital and Contax N, then Leaf with the dead-end Aptus 75s I couldn't use on their AFi Hy6 camera system JUST after getting the 75s ... well, caution is a considerable aspect in mulling this all over.
I will be buying an S2 in due course. It looks sexy.
The price of Leica items is always "too" high. Manufacturing in Germany with top-notch materials is very expensive, and the aspherical technology is even more expensive. I guess they do what they have to do to stay in business. Cutting the price to sell more only works if the new price still has a profit margin worth speaking of, and I have a hunch that this would not be the case here, especially at the kinds of prices people throw around, like $10000.
Okay, this now has the potential of getting a little snarky ... and personal in a thinly veiled way.
So, thanks to all for the great discussion, and it's clear that the best action to take is ... none.
December 31st is the deadline for the Hassey H4D/60 upgrade program ... so I have until then to mull it all over.
Even then, the best policy may be to wait and see.
Waiting a year makes a lot of sense.
Not only will the cat be out of the bag, by which I mean you'll be able to see the damn thing, hold it, test it, read about it being tested and all of that.
But have you ever thought about what might happen if the dollar actually gets stronger in the next 12 months? I have no clue what the prospects of the dollar are, but just getting nearer to the euro would save you a couple grand.
Just a different thought...
The best action is to wait for Leica not only to prove they have come up with a great camera but to read the first reports about service for this new camera.
Pro quality service meaning fast and efficient is a whole new ball game for Leica.
Lets see first if they are able to meet the expectations of professional users in terms of turn around times and gear to lend during the time the S2 camera and lenses are being serviced.
Right now Hasselblad V series is going through a phase where Zeiss no longer offers spares or service for V series lenses.
Parts and service are the exclusive domain of Hasselblad Sweden.
Apparently HB USA is not fully aware of this regarding the way they handled lenses returned to them with problems.
Definitely waiting for another year or even two is a good strategy. This will not only show the quality of the camera and lenses, but also SW and support and future of the S System.
Wonder really what their next shot will be after the S2
Life is an ever changing journey
Doug Peterson (e-mail Me)
Head of Technical Services, Capture Integration
Phase One, Leaf, Canon, Apple, Profoto, Eizo & More
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Last edited by dougpeterson; 17th October 2009 at 07:51.
I agree with you Peter and suspect most potential buyers also agree. Which creates a *HUGE* problem for Leica: they need early adopters of the S2 and a lot of them, or there will never be any S3.
This gets back to their marketing and pricing strategy. Personally, I think they'd be well served to make sure the S2 got into as many professional hands as possible, even if it means LOSING some money in the process, because I suspect they'll lose the entire R&D investment if they don't do that...
This gets back to exactly what was discussed when the S2 was first being announced and thoughts of how it would fit into the market, especially after the prices were announced. The entire discussion over should they make a little or no profit on a lot of cameras initially (hopefully allowing some or more pros to actually work with the camera to prove its mettle), or sell lower volume at much higher prices to more quickly recover R&D costs, etc. Problem with the second strategy is that the higher pricing means the S2 will more like land in the hands of more wealthy buyers and hobbyists, and few outside will see the results or hear about the issues. We now know what strategy Leica has taken at this point, and it will just take a whole lot longer for more extensive use by folks that will report and show results. That could mean that the S2 will get bypassed by the exact target group that Leica said they built the camera to serve. Should that happen, there will probably not be a lot of enthusiasm for continued development and any S3. Leica pushing for the shorter-term return on its investment could undermine the future for them. Just my thoughts, and echoing your comments.
P.S. I should add, just to temper more rampant speculation and discussions over parts of the strategy for Leica, that yes, they have a more limited production and service capacity, and that could work against turning out a volume of the S2 at a lower entry price point, which could also be problematic. That being said, that does not seem to have suppressed demand from other manufacturers with their new offerings. If they sold out every S2 on day one it is offered and had to crank hard on production going forward, that would not be a bad thing if users actually marketed the camera for them.
Last edited by LJL; 17th October 2009 at 07:45.
Pick 25 working Pro's give them a system for 6 months for free to work with and report there findings in public and if it is all the paper says it will be than it will sell like hot cakes. With a completely NEW system in the market it is the smartest strategy to get it off the ground . Make that 24 I'm first . LOL
Spot on. The pricing from Leica can only be offset by desireability, and that will come if the S2 has something that no other camer has, and you want that one thing.
and the PROs can validate that one thing
My candidate is the sealing; as far as I know there is NO competitor-you want a sealed MF system, you buy the S2
now, IQ (better than P65+ I would wonder :-) but same as P45+ plus, probably)
a few others;
people want Leica glass look- QED, only S2 at MF
AF Leica glass-S2
Smaller than MF, more like DSLR-S2, again (well, ok, the cOntax 645 too LOL)
I am sure others can think of more
All the comparisons to me are weak. The only real questions are
for a pro-is the ROI there
for a serious amateur-I am willing to give up something else
for the well off-hell that's the starter market anyway
Can't wait for you to shoot with a P65+ with Schneider large format non-retrofocus glass and do a two panel static-lens stitch... easy as pie and a 100 megapixel image sharp from corner to corner. Oregon is right around the corner!
Believe what you create. See below if you want to see my specific (extremely adamant) objections to the above.
Note the following:
- That alley is a scene of absolutely absurd dynamic range. From white paint in direct sunlight to dark subject matter in deeply closed shadow.
- Per the above the exposure is to guard against the highlights in the corner and is 1.5 stops under exposed for the main subject matter
- It was shot at ISO100 rather than ISO 50 to compare directly to the P30+ (the base ISO of which is 100)
- It was shot with a firmware version two generations earlier than today's firmware
- It's shot with 10mm of rise
- Since you were comparing scenes on the monitor you were likely comparing quality at 100% for each image rather than an equal area of coverage. Remember that the 65+ sensor has 50% higher resolution, but that advantage is moot if you're comparing at 100% pixels on each image instead of... and I know this is a crazy thought... printing the images at the same size.
- poor noise reduction or sharpening settings (the default noise reduction setting in C1 is unfortunately very high for this sort of subject matter) can easily obscure quality at the pixel level.
- the earliest versions of C1 which supported the 65+ files do not render them as beautifully as recent versions. The JPGs David linked to were processed (with default noise reduction settings) with the very first version which supported the 65+. Since this was an entirely new sensor technology (modern DALSA sensors with Sensor+ technology) it took a month or two after release to really get the processing singing and modest improvements continue to be made since the engineers who make the back and program the back's firmware also program the software algorithms.
Or to quote a P65+ owner...
These sorts of comparisons don't do anything to serve the community.
Doug Peterson (e-mail Me)
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Price is only one part of the equation for the S2 purchase decision. The price is what it is and each of us has to determine for ourselves how it affects the purchase decision. The point of my earlier post was not too bash Leica for their pricing (e.g., it's not their fault the US dollar is low).
I put my name on the S2 list with my Leica dealer very early on - well before prices were announced. I did not withdraw my name from the list after prices were announced. I will wait until production cameras are available and I can get some actual shooting time with the camera before I make a final purchase decision. It should be noted that the price didn't scare me off the S2. I still think it has its merits and probably will be relatively competitively priced when all factors "important to me" are factored in. For me, things like weather sealing, form factor, and ergonomics are worth paying for.
I have some experience with the P65+ and lots of experience with the AFi-II 10 and Aptus-II 10, which use a similar (Dalsa) sensor design and I find it hard to believe that a Kodak sensor equipped camera can come close or match these in terms of image quality at base iso.
From what has been said here and in other threads, the RAW files from the P65+ are available from Doug per his above note. The RAW files from a pre-production S2 are not generally available until the embargo is lifted, but David Farkas has offered folks to view them from his set-up only, no online postings to test drive yourself. So, we will just have to wait a bit longer to start any true side-by-side comparisons to support or refute any claims.
Carsten, I did not take your post as being snappy. In fact, I agree with what you said in your post. I kinda wished I hadn't brought up price again, but felt it appropriate because it is major factor in any purchase decision and the genesis of this thread is consideration whether to purchase an S2.
But that'll cost over a million bucks (straight out of profit). If they can sell all the cameras they can make (and judging by the M9, and their reported expectations of 1000 S2s a year that doesn't seem so unlikely).
All these arguments (which keep coming round) hinge around the assumption that they're going to be difficult to sell, I just don't believe it. But even if they ARE difficult to sell, surely the time to do this sort of thing (including the loss leader that LJL suggests) is when you have inventory you can't sell and when you've got over any teething troubles without a mass recall. Not when you're very unlikely to be able to keep up with demand!
As for giving pros cameras and asking them to report in public . . . I know you would report back Guy, but I also know from experience that some simply won't bother (and how do you force them?).
Just this guy you know
I don't think it should be cheaper either, just not so expensive
I honestly believe that the price point is probably about 10% off the mark. I expect to pay more for Leica and routinely do.
Where I fall off the Choo-Choo is the staggering price for service protection ... not that they are alone in that, but jeeze that's a lot for something that doesn't yield a bit more IQ, handling, or anything. It's VERY expensive insurance, pure and simple.
If Leica backed the S2 with 3 year Pro level service, they would demonstrate confidence in the product and would ease early adopters concerns. That would place the risk for a bad product where it belongs ... on the makers shoulders not the buyer's.
David, the answer is already above.
Marc, I cannot comment on the pro service package, because I have no knowledge at all in that area. However, the platinum package does include a replacement shutter, which could be applied at the photographer's discretion, right at the end of the service interval, as I understand it, and comes with a full checkup, so that part is not just insurance, but also product.
How much extra would the pro service, cameras and lenses, cost for a typical pro system? Given the prices of the lenses in particular, would the price + pro service not pay for an entire duplicate system from one of the other manufacturers? I'm not a MF shooter but that is what I and every other pro I know would consider..
I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz
Not looking to continue a smoldering discussion of disagreements. That S2 Premium Service Package seems way out of line. The replacement shutter part is really the bigger joke in my mind, at least for a pro-level camera. I have had several Canon 1-series cameras where the shutter gave out at 200K or so actuations. I sent the bodies back to Canon. They replaced the shutters, did a complete CLA, and returned them to me within a week each....no charge. THAT is what professional service should be. Fact is, the shutter is a pretty low cost item on most of these cameras. I think the Canon shutters would have cost me a couple hundred bucks each tops.
As for the "Made in Germany" part to defend the costs.....sorry, that is becoming a tired and misplaced sentiment. There are plenty of places other than Germany that are turning out very high quality stuff with equally high quality parts, and for less cost. So if the high cost of Leica is attributable more to higher labor costs, that is a competitive issue they have to contend with. Just slapping on the "Made in Germany" label does not automatically make things "worth" more in the rest of the market, just costing more. Not bashing Leica, nor its products. Just trying to get away from some of the rather poor excuses to justify such a price tag on a new, untested camera with limited availability, unknown support, and unknowns with respect to how soon and how well the "system" will be developed, filled out and any improvements made. These are a lot of unknowns for a quite high entry price. It may prove to be worth it in the long run, but by then, there may be a lot of other things more worth it for less also.
Lets put this to rest. This is a BRAND NEW P40+ I just picked up at the FedX office that Dave from CI sent me. Same P65 sensor. Now there is nothing worse than 1 pm sun in Arizona and it is 96 today. This is absolutely the worst conditions for blocking the shadows. I exposed directly for the sun , no averaging , no nothing in a version of C1. I have my slider for for shadow clipping set at ZERO and not one spec of blue warning even comes up at ALL. So when I hear blocked shadows than the bell alarm goes off. You can't match this **** light anywhere. I see detail in all shadow area's of this horrible image and to be honest I would never expose just for the sun anyway. I would let it blow slightly since the highlight recovery is a amazing tool and if I was on AV mode I guarantee it would have exposed it at LEAST a stop brighter. Frankly I have not seen anything better than the P65 and P40+ backs when it comes to this nasty nasty stuff
Now same frame and here i am actually going to clip the shadows by 4 points and balance the tonal range from 0-255. Now I am really not even trying hard to get the shadows up a little but this would be a more normal exposure after a few minor corrections. I like a little punch so i actually have to add some black level clipping. This back and the P65 will be on the workshop for all attendees to use and process there files in the newest and latest C1. They can see for themselves these backs do not block up.
Yes i have a broken window a bird flew into it
Sorry, and I don't mean this disrespectfully, but it is neither tired nor misplaced. There are two issues. First of all, Leica does work that no other company can do, possibly except Zeiss (also in Germany). At least, no other company does it. Secondly, protecting the local jobs is a strong move from Leica, and IMO, forward-looking. You see it already happening in the States, where price drives manufacturing to such an extent that the production is moving overseas, and even the ability to manufacture locally starts to disappear. The price will not stay low overseas forever, but once the manufacturing expertise disappears locally, it may not return. Look where the American camera industry is today. Are you happy about that? The relentless push for lower prices made that happen.As for the "Made in Germany" part to defend the costs.....sorry, that is becoming a tired and misplaced sentiment. There are plenty of places other than Germany that are turning out very high quality stuff with equally high quality parts, and for less cost.
Now, I am not German, I just live here, but I do understand this type of decision, and I wish it would be made more often. I hate to see so much of the world's goods being manufactured in countries which do not protect the workers well, and which don't control the damage to the environment, like Germany does. I am perfectly willing to pay more, sometimes much more, to buy products from countries whose track-record I respect, but the choice is more and more just not there. I am astounded to see how much of what I buy is made in China, a country whose politics and economy I absolutely do not condone.
Leica cameras and lenses are made in Europe. Some parts are done in Portugal, where the labour is significantly cheaper than in Germany, but other parts need to be made in Germany, where the standards are very high, and the expertise is still present.
Think of it another way: a significant proportions of the best cameras and lenses ever made, throughout history, were designed and made in Germany. Do you really think this would ever have happened if only the designs were made here, and the manufacturing went to the cheapest bidder?
Anyway, this is getting off-topic.
Last edited by carstenw; 17th October 2009 at 12:33.
Check this out this is pushing it to look normal just by pulling the shadow slider up but still keeping a 0-255 tonal range with just very slight clipping on either side. Obviously i could make it without but this looks like we added fill light to the scene. What is amazing is the elbow room in MF. Once you see this stuff you just can't walk away from it. MF is amazing stuff
That looks almost like HDR photography!
Single shot I promise. Pretty amazing now not sure you would take it there normally but as you can see it can get there. This is WHY we all own MF gear or one darn good reason we do. BTW this was handheld with a 45D lens at F11 ISO 100
Re better materials etc.....I haven't heard many complaints about the poor materials and build quality of cameras like the 1Ds3/D3x. That's news to me.
P40 file is looking impressive! (But frankly, at least from a DR standpoint, not that different from your P30+ --- maybe 1/3 a stop in the shadows?)
I am sure that the S2 would be a runaway bestseller at $10-12k, but I am equally sure that it would put Leica out of business, with a heavy loss on every camera.
What impresses me more than anything is the elbow room in the files from MF and obviously I like C1 but you can't take a Phase file in LR or ACR and expect anything worth a damn. They are dumb files when they come in.
Jono they probably will sell to the hobbyist , more of my point is this is directed at Pro's and to get them to jump ship or buy up or whatever it is going to be the challenge. Than again we have to see where leica really wants to target for the hobbyist many things as Victor said won't matter much but some selling point will matter and the rest is a easy compromise to buy. That I agree with, it don't have to be perfect on everything. Now if they are going after the Pro's than they are going after a market they really never went after in a sense. So they have to change the plan and there strategy to get Pro's to jump. Sometimes it is hard to look at this from the outside but guy's like me are sitting in a different seat. Obviously ROI is important but than we have that whole list of stuff we been talking about that has to hit the check marks. So it is a different ball game they have to work in. But sure some hobbyist will jump all over this and not even look at the specs, no question about it.